The Book of Merman is a parody of and tribute to Book of Mormon and Ethel Merman. The play opens with a fantastic version of Hello!, the opening number from Book of Mormon. Sam Button-Harrison and Phillip Kaiser are dressed perfectly as missionaries and sing this opening number with gusto. After a few rejections at various houses, they come to a house that says “E.M. Welcome.” (“Every Mormon Welcome!”) They knock and we meet Ethel, played by Libby Lane. She is dressed extravagantly and has a voice to boot. It’s showcased in a number of original songs along with Anything You Can Do and There’s No Business Like Show Business. She invites the audience to sing along when she says, “Who wants to do me?!”
The most comical song of the night is “If It’s Not Hard,” which opens up the second act after the intermission. It had the audience laughing the whole time. Since this performance takes place in the smaller theatre downstairs in the Apollo Theatre, it allows the actors to go without microphones and results in a very intimate show. If you’re a fan of Book of Mormon, Ethel Merman, and musical comedies, you’ll love this play!
Showtimes at the Apollo are 7:30 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; and 3:30 pm on Sundays. Tickets are $30 for all performances, with $5 discounts for seniors and students and are on sale through Ticketmaster and the Apollo box office (773-935-6100).